Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Man’s best friend

Monday, April 26th, 2010
This is a picture of Angel Eyes that my mother took

Notice the white star on the forehead

If ever you feel weary, and all alone, look not to the dog but to the horse for comfort. Horses are good listeners, and will stand beside you in perfect harmony if you run your hands gently down their back, and speak with a very gentle tone. 

When I was a little boy I used to climb up to the hay barn above the stables, and perch on one of the beams above my Mother’s favourite mare.  She didn’t seem to mind, as she munched away on the hay I dropped down to her and I spilled out my thoughts, and even made up stories aloud.  This became a ritual whenever I came home from school for the holidays, and my old friend would always be there to greet me with her long black fluttery lashes and open face with a white star fixed squarely on her forehead.

At the start of the Christmas holidays I came home with so much excitement as Christmas was coming, and that meant presents!  We also had recently arranged to catch some rays on a horse riding holiday to the coast of Spain. But that night, as usual, I snuck out to the stables. I remember vividly the large wooden ladder-type staircase up to the hayloft, with slippery mould growing off it.  I treaded carefully and opened up the stiff hatch.  From there I could see the lit stable, and my special beam.  I carefully balanced along the beam and gently lowered myself into a sort of sitting position, only to look down and find the stable bare.  I couldn’t understand it and looked in the paddocks.  She wasn’t there.  In the darkness I could see no white star, and no open face.  Walking slowly back to the house I went to my Mother.  Sadly, the mare had been found lame in the paddock and had had to leave us.  I couldn’t believe it, wouldn’t!  My best friend and listener had gone and left me and Christmas was forgotten. The horse riding holiday to Jerez came and passed and before I knew it the stunning scenery and beautiful landscapes had passed me by.

As most horse lovers will already know, this is both a sad fact of life… and riding, but with riding, more acutely. The average horse lives to between 20-30 years; there are records of up to 51 years old according to many sources. So throughout a life-long riding affair it is most likely that you will suffer a loss more than once.

When Christmas day finally rolled around the corner my mum gave me a massive hug and told me how sorry she was. She knew deep down I wasn’t interested in opening presents this year but still she told me she had something for me to remember our mare by, and it was perched on the beam in the hay loft. I reluctantly walked outside into the cold and made my way over. The cold bit my arms and I hugged my T-shirt for warmth. I walked up the wooden stairs and climbed through the hatch only to see nothing on the beam. It was the first time I had been here since… So I sat down and pondered, staring dead ahead at the opposite wall. I could practically hear Angel Eyes below me. All of the memories came rushing back and as I looked below I could see her with her blotchy coat of brown and white. Except… no star on her forehead? I dropped down gently and put my hand on her cheek as I examined her closely. This wasn’t Angel Eyes! Mum opened the door to the stables and smiled. I wrapped my arms around her and my Christmas was saved.

Subscribe to RSS feed